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Health Information Center

Typhoid Fever

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Typhoid Fever

(Enteric Fever; Paratyphoid Fever)


Typhoid fever is an infection that results in fever and severe belly pain. It can lead to serious illness and death. It needs to be treated right away.


Typhoid fever is caused by an infection with a specific bacterium. The bacteria are passed from:

  • Sewage contamination of food or water
  • Contact with an infected person, such as through sharing food or drinks or poor hand hygiene
Digestive System.

Small intestineshttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73707370si55551448.jpgsi55551448.jpgNULLjpgsi55551448.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551448.jpgNULL9NULL2008-11-072543907370_11484Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

Typhoid fever is common in places with poor sanitation. The risk of getting sick is highest in parts of India, Africa, and Asia.

Things that raise the risk are:

  • Having close contact with an infected person
  • Not having the typhoid vaccine
  • Eating or drinking items tainted by sewage
  • Not washing hands carefully
  • Having low stomach acid or taking acid reducers


Mild typhoid fever symptoms may be:

  • Low fever
  • Headache
  • Constipation—more common in adults
  • Diarrhea—more common in children
  • A rose-colored rash
  • A dry cough
  • A coating on the tongue
  • Lack of hunger

Severe symptoms may be:

  • High fever and chills—may last a long time
  • Belly pain
  • Changes in mental state


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. You will also be asked about your travel history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests will be done to look for the bacteria. This can be done with:


Typhoid is treated with antibiotics. Other treatments may be:

  • Fluids by mouth or IV to treat dehydration
  • Medicines to lower fever or ease pain


The risk of typhoid fever may be lowered by:

People who travel to high-risk areas should filter, disinfect, or boil water used for drinking or cooking.





  • Crump, J. Progress in typhoid fever epidemiology. Clin Infect Dis. 2019; 68(1): S4–S9.
  • Enteric fever (typhoid and paratyphoid fever). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/enteric-fever-typhoid-and-paratyphoid-fever.
  • Typhoid fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/typhoid-fever.
  • Typhoid fever. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/gram-negative-bacilli/typhoid-fever.
  • Typhoid VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/typhoid.html.


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.